Advent is one of my absolute favourite things about Christmas. Obviously all the food, festivities, friends and family are all things to look forward to, but the magic of Christmas shouldn’t be saved for one day in my mind and there’s so much you can do to make advent just as special as the day itself!
I love buying advent calendars for my family, I try to tailor the calendars to the person which is easy to do now as you can literally get an advent calendar that has pretty much anything inside!
I tend to get everyone a chocolate calendar purely because it feels weird not to and luckily with so many free from brands now I can include myself in this – yay!! As well as my human family (haha) I have to include all the cats and dogs too and I find Lily’s Kitchen a great brand for pet calendars, however Tesco and Sainsburys always have a great selection.
If you’re looking for an alternative to advent calendars then an advent gift is a really lovely idea. If I buy advent gifts I tend to go for something you can enjoy throughout the month, like an advent candle, mug, a tree decoration or even festive teas or food. For children you can get amazing advent calendars with a book for each day (which is what I got for my niece this year), or you could put something together yourself.
For my boyfriend last year, I went all out and got him a different present everyday throughout advent. I love to buy a range of different gifts and hide them around the house with a clue each day so that it turns advent into a game and much more fun than opening a door and figuring out if it’s a chocolate blob or if it’s actually meant to be Rudolph.
This might sound a little excessive, however it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. I put together a mix of nicer more ‘presenty’ presents and some fillers like sweets, chocolates and coffee pods, however you can go for a much cheaper alternative to larger gifts such as miniature toiletries or even just chocolate coins or a note everyday – after all it’s always the sentimental and thoughtful gifts that mean the most. The excitement of Christmas day is enough for me already, so I prefer to have a great advent calendar and enjoy lots of little presents in the run up throughout the month rather than having lots of presents on Christmas day. You get to appreciate the little things so much more by doing it this way and no gift get cast aside amongst a pile of lots of presents – you have a whole day to dedicate to each one!
I love that the advent calendar industry has grown exponentially over recent years and there really is everything you can wish for, for literally any family member and any personality. One of my personal favourites this year is a new advent calendar to market which is designed to send an email each day to your inbox with assets for creatives who use Adobe and similar programs. I think this is a great concept as it allows you to expand your creativity and help you learn through advent as well as just being a really cool gift for yourself or someone else!
I also love a good old tea advent calendar as a cheaper alternative to your more elaborate advent gifts. Who doesn’t love a cup of tea everyday? Of course I can’t forget some of the incredible make up and beauty brands who top themselves every year with amazing advent calendar designs, packaging and contents worth well above what you actually pay. This is a great way to try out a few different brands you don’t normally use and every year I’ve ended up repurchasing products from my advent calendars that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.
Personally, I’ve had my eye on so many advent calendars this year, but the two that stood out to me the most in terms of beauty and skincare were Space NK because of the great mix of products and brands and the MAC calendar because the design is unique and well, MAC products are just great.
Here are some of my favourite advent calendars this year. I’ve gone for a mix of high, mid and lower end price points and gift quality, and a total mix of things to cover everyone in the family!